SGO or Fostering

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Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:40 pm

SGO or Fostering

Post by patconn2 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:47 pm

My husband and I are currently in the process of being assessed to care for my 5-week old nephew. He is currently in the care of the local authority with a private foster carer. We live 350 miles away. During the stage 1 assessment, the social worker told us that they would be recommending that the arrangement most suitable would be an SGO because of the distance we are away. I completely understand this would be more workable with regards contact arrangements and attending regular meetings. However, I am concerned about the financial burden. We are by no means in this to make money but would need to know that we can afford to do this. Fostering payments seem much more clear cut as you are paid to do it as a job, but we would have to consider the frequent travel with such a young baby. I know that any financial support is means tested, we are not on a huge wage but above the limit we can get any tax credits, we both work full time, my husband often works overtime so that we have a little extra money in the pot, which is soon soaked up by supporting our own 2 teenagers!! One of whom we are supporting through college as we are just above the income threshold that he can get any financial support. We save all year to go on a 2 week holiday, which is cheap because we stay with friends!!
Our main concern is that although we can make ends meet, we cannot absorb that level of financial burden without help. We cannot afford the cost of childcare alone never mind everything else a baby needs. I have to keep working as I am doing a degree which requires me to be in appropriate work. Would the additional costs of caring for the baby be met under an SGO or should we push for fostering long term. We would be devastated if it turned out we were not able to do this and give him all the opportunities he should have.

Any help or advice would be very welcome.

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Suzie, FRG Adviser
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Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 11:25 am

Re: SGO or Fostering

Post by Suzie, FRG Adviser » Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:47 pm

Dear patconn2

Thank you for your post and welcome to the family and friends discussion boards.

My name is Suzie, online adviser at Family Rights Group. I am sorry that you did not receive a response to your post sooner due to volume of work.

You are concerned about the financial support you would receive under a special guardianship order or fostering. The social worker has informed you that a special guardianship order is appropriate because of where you live. This is not really the basis upon which a court will make a special guardianship order. The court is concerned about the child’s welfare and the most appropriate placement in the long term to meet her needs.

As your niece is still very young long term fostering is unlikely to be considered the best way to meet her needs for permanency. A special guardianship order is a step below adoption so fir such a young child will provide a secure placement whilst maintaining ties with the birth parent(s).

Your niece is currently a looked after child and, as such, means that you would be entitled to have a support manage to meet her needs now and in the future. This includes a payment of special guardianship allowance. You should not be paid less than the amount that would be paid to a foster carer because you are related. Children’s services should pay for you to have legal advice regarding special guardianship and in particular the support package offered. It might best to ask at the time the special guardianship order is made for the support to be offered until your niece is 18. This would mean that the allowance wwould continue and not be removed following the annual reviews. You can discuss this with the solicitor.

I think it would be helpful for you to read our advice sheets Support for relatives and friends who are looking after someone else’s child , Social security support for relatives and friends looking after someone else’s child for more information about the support you can receive when caring for someone else’s child.

This advice sheet gives more information about special guardianship orders and the assessment process and there is also a further advice sheet that explains the court process which you may find useful Care (and related) proceedings .

Should you wish to discuss this furher with an adviser, please telephone our advice line on 0808 801 0366. The advice line is open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday.

I hope this is helpful

Best wishes


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